Following an early playoff exit, drastic change has been speculated about for the Dallas Cowboys this offseason.
With several key players up for free agency and little cap room to work with, the Cowboys may have tough decisions on their hands when it comes to high-priced players such as Ezekiel Elliott, Demarcus Lawrence and Amari Cooper.
Speaking with reporters on Monday, Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones put to rest any rumors of the team parting ways with their star running back.
"I want that guy on my team," Jones said of Elliott, via Todd Archer of ESPN. "You talk about playing through some injuries. He's a competitor. I think he's a damn good running back.
"Obviously, his money is guaranteed. He's going to be here. There's no question. We're fortunate to have him."
Elliott is set to earn a fully guaranteed base salary of $12.4 million this upcoming season. His base salary and $18.2 million salary cap number are the highest among running backs, according to Over The Cap. With a dead cap number of $30,080,000, an outright release would be "inconceivable," as NFL Network's Cynthia Frelund put it.
A restructuring of Elliott's contract isn't beyond belief. The Cowboys did so ahead of the 2021 season to free up cap space and another such maneuver could be still be in play.
After enduring an injury-riddled season in 2021, Elliott managed to produce 1,002 rushing yards off 237 carries and 10 touchdowns while adding 287 yards and two more scores through the air. At 26 years old, Elliott is theoretically entering his athletic prime, but the wear and tear of six high-volume seasons has begun to show.
With Tony Pollard getting a consistent increase of snaps through his first three seasons, the Cowboys will most certainly have a decision to make this time next year with their backup RB hitting free agency in 2023 and Elliott continuing to make a premium at the position.
Until then, expect the Cowboys backfield to remain in 2022.